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"You can never escape the lighthouse here..."

Max Caulfield in "Chrysalis"


The Lighthouse is located in the forested outskirts of Arcadia Bay. For locals who wish to go to the lighthouse, they must follow an uphill pathway in the forest which ends up at the ocean cliff. The lighthouse is a 15-minute walk from the beach, as mentioned on a wooden signpost. The lighthouse is the first featured location in Life is Strange: Season 1, and a recurring motif throughout the game.

Background Edit

Max Caulfield mentions that she and Chloe Price used to spend a lot of time there when they were young. They would run up to the top of the lighthouse, implying that in previous years it was open to the public. It could also only have been open to the public at specific days/hours. 

Visitors and guests at the lighthouse are encouraged to leave the wildlife in the area alone, as per the sign on the trail. Max confirms it has been there a long time.

Episode One - "Chrysalis" Edit

The lighthouse is the first location Max gets to know, as her storm-filled vision shows us the tornado heading straight for Arcadia Bay. The lighthouse itself is destroyed as a fishing boat rams into the middle of it, splitting it in two.

After Max wakes from this vision in Mr. Jefferson's classroom and is able to walk around the classroom, there is an option to look at a photo of the lighthouse, to which Max responds "You can never escape the lighthouse here."

We revisit the lighthouse at the end of the episode. Max can take an optional photo if she turns back on the pathway, as well as a photo of Chloe as she sits on a bench next to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is clearly a popular spot for young people to hang out, due to the copious amounts of litter, vandalism and alcoholic beverage bottles surrounding the campfire pit at the top of the cliff. It seems that Chloe still hangs around there, due to the presence of graffiti similar to that in her room on the rocks by the campfire.

Lighthouse

Photo of the Lighthouse in Mr. Jefferson's classroom

Behind one of the maintenance sheds, there are "wind glyphs" written on the side of the wall. Max comments that they remind her of the wind. They are related to Alain Damasio who is the co-founder of Dontnod. His novel, La Horde du Contrevent (or The WindWalkers) has characters represented by these symbols.

There is a haiku written on a stump near the end of the lighthouse pathway, which reads:

Turn this way now or
Face the lonely autumn tree
And never look back

This could be a foreshadowing of events to come in the game.

Episode Two - "Out of Time" Edit

During the cutscene at the end of Episode 2, Chloe appears by the lighthouse, sitting on the same bench as in Episode 1.

Episode Five - "Polarized" Edit

During the nightmare sequence, the photo of the lighthouse in Jefferson's class can be viewed, but there are changes to this photograph as the top half of the lighthouse is torn off, presumably by the storm.

Later in the episode, after Max is through the Nightmare sequence, Max and Chloe are at the lighthouse and a safe distance away from the storm. Max and Chloe share a conversation on the cliff before Chloe makes Max decide whether to save Arcadia Bay or save her.

If Max decides to sacrifice Arcadia Bay for Chloe, she and Chloe will stand atop the cliff and hold hands as they look on at the storm destroying Arcadia Bay. Max will be unable to watch what she has caused to happen and will turn away to rest her head on Chloe's shoulder to cry.

If Max chooses to save Arcadia Bay, rewinds, and this time lets Chloe die in the Blackwell girls bathroom, she will later stand in front of the lighthouse before she heads to the cemetery to attend Chloe's funeral.

Interactions Edit

During the first episode, Max has several objects to interact with near the lighthouse.

PC users: Hover over the text to see Max's comments. See here for all interactions in the game.
  • She can look at a rusted fence. (Comment: "That old fence is part of the landscape now. The path behind it leads to the parking lot...")
  • She can look at a beer bottle. (Comment: "People can be such pigs.")
  • She can look at a notice about wildlife. (Comment: "They haven't updated this sign since the 1980's...")
  • She can look at a sign pointing to the lighthouse. (Comment: "I feel like I'm in my nightmare again...")
  • She can look at and take an optional photo of the Blue Jay (available only if she saved it at Chloe's house earlier). (Comment: Look: "Oh, this will be a great nature shot! Stay still, birdie..."
    Photo: "I got you!")
  • She can look at a haiku written on a stump. (Comment: "A tree haiku? How pretty...")
  • She can look at a "Max and Chloe BFF Pirates 2008" carving. (Comment: "Oh my God! I forgot all about this! Too bad I can't rewind that far back...")
  • She can look at a map of Arcadia Bay with Max and Chloe's tree fort marked on it. (Comment: "Wowser, Chloe drew that to mark our treefort... So we'd always
    be able to find each other in case of emergency... Oh...")
  • She can look at a Bigfoot graffiti. (Comment: "Clearly, the Bigfoots are everywhere.")
  • She can look at several footprints. (Comment: "Those sure aren't bigfeet... What kind of animal left those prints?")
  • She can look at the "wind glyphs" graffiti. (Comment: "Weird, those glyphs remind me of... the wind.")
  • She can look at the lighthouse door. (Comment: "Too bad it's locked... I remember racing up and down the steps...")
  • She can look at a "Trust No One" graffiti. (Comment: "How long has that been here?")
  • She can look at a campfire. (Comment: "Looks like the youth of Arcadia Bay still come up here to party. I never made it...")
  • She can look at, speak to and take an optional photo of Chloe. (Comment: Took the blame: "This would be a nice photo of Chloe framed by the sun..."
    Blamed Chloe: "She looks really pissed. I should not have denounced her earlier...")
  • During her second vision, Max can read an issue of The Independent.

Symbolism Edit

The lighthouse is known as a symbol of safety and security and of guidance. It could be that the building watches over Arcadia Bay and is a symbol of guidance letting Max know about the oncoming disaster of the tornado. In Episode 5, it became apparent that the lighthouse was actually the only safe place for Max and Chloe during the storm.[1]

The lighthouse may be there to remind Max where she was before, with its light to show her what is coming--a warning of the impending danger.

Another important observation is that the terms "lighthouse" and "Dark Room", both important locations and very central motives throughout the game, are polar opposites of one another.

Trivia Edit

  • There is graffiti on a shack near the lighthouse of a symbol that represents the characters in a French novel by Alain Damasio, one of the co-founders of Dontnod Entertainment, named La Horde du Contrevent (or The WindWalkers). Wind is a recurring theme in the novel, and upon looking at the graffiti, Max says, "Weird, those glyphs remind me of... the wind."
  • The developers didn't model undamaged window panes for the lantern room of the lighthouse. Using camera tweaks to get a close-up of the lantern room, it is confirmed that the windows always look broken. (The only moment when the lantern room is seen up close happens when it crashes right in front of Max during one of her visions, with broken windows as a result).
  • The lighthouse design might be based on either Heceta Head Lighthouse or Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Newport, OR).

References Edit

  1. See here to find out more about the symbolism of lighthouses: http://www.aseekersthoughts.com

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